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Adversity sparks opportunity for Lightning’s Nick Paul

TORONTO — The Tampa Bay Lightning aren’t any strangers to adversity.

The back-to-back Stanley Cup champions discovered themselves in one more tough scenario Saturday evening. And as they’ve so many instances previously, the battle-tested group was capable of rise to the event.

The Lightning have been pushed to the brink by a determined Toronto Maple Leafs squad, however in the long run they got here away with a 2-1 win in Recreation 7 of their best-of-seven collection.

Tampa Bay has now gained 9 consecutive playoff collection since they have been swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets within the first spherical of the 2019 playoffs, with this primary spherical collection in opposition to Toronto proving to be considered one of their hardest checks in that span.

“It was a close-fought collection. They’ve some unbelievable gamers,” mentioned star Tampa defenceman Victor Hedman after the sport. “It was a detailed sport in the present day, it may have gone both approach.”

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Lightning down Leafs in Game 7 as Toronto endures more playoff heartbreak

However in the long run the sport went to the Lightning, though it was a hard-fought victory. Tampa Bay misplaced ahead Brayden Level to an harm within the first interval, and though Level tried to rejoin the sport within the second, he was finally unable to proceed.

The Lightning have been capable of face up to the lack of Level, who had 28 objectives in 66 regular-season video games this yr.

With the lack of considered one of their finest gamers, Tampa as soon as once more discovered themselves compelled to step up within the face of a difficult scenario.

“I don’t assume you’ve got performed what we’ve performed the final couple of years until you’ve got gamers that may reply the way in which they did,” mentioned Lightning head coach Jon Cooper when requested about his group’s response to Level’s harm. “They’ve performed it time and time once more and we shouldn’t be stunned that they did it.”

Though Tampa could also be a group with loads of playoff expertise, it was a participant taking part in in his first ever Recreation 7, ahead Nick Paul, who provided the Lightning with a spark. Paul scored each of Tampa’s objectives, the primary two objectives of his playoff profession.

It was a becoming breakout for the depth ahead after his teammate Corey Perry had spoken earlier Saturday morning about how Recreation 7s could be a likelihood for gamers to make a reputation for themselves. Paul, nevertheless, was fast to unfold the credit score round to his teammates.

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“It’s the performs that occur round it, ?”, mentioned Paul. “It’s a group sport, clearly. I used to be the one who ended up placing it within the internet, but it surely was everybody on the ice making the performs occur.”

The highway to the NHL’s first three-peat because the 1982 New York Islanders gained’t get any simpler for the Lightning within the second spherical, as they transfer on to play the President’s Trophy-winning Florida Panthers in an intra-state conflict. The Lightning defeated the Panthers within the first spherical of final yr’s playoffs.

Click to play video: 'Leafs fans amped for Game 7'

Leafs followers amped for Recreation 7

Leafs followers amped for Recreation 7

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